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Never feeling good enough, despite milestones

Nurses   (928 Views 18 Comments)
by CaliRN2019 CaliRN2019 (New Member) New Member Nurse

84 Profile Views; 3 Posts

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Before I started nursing school, I used to look at any nurse in amazement! It didn't matter if they worked in a hospital, school, home health, whatever. You were the ***! Then I got into nursing school and started clinicals and came to think "Oh NO, I MUST work in a hospital with acute care patients to feel like I am really "doing this" and a "real" nurse. Now as a new grad on a busy tele floor in a large hospital, I feel like THIS status isn't good enough. Now I need to be in the ER or ICU with critically ill patients to be the "real deal". I wonder how far this will go? What if I get into the ICU, then it might not be a good enough hospital next. I feel like the bar keeps moving and no matter what I do I can't keep up. I really like the floor I am on. They pay is good, the people are good. Sometimes the pt acuity seems too easy and I crave something harder, but it is frustrating that I don't feel like a "real" hardcore badass nurse. I don't feel good enough. How do you all come to terms with where you are and learn to just be happy with where you are at?

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JadedCPN has 13 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU.

674 Posts; 7,141 Profile Views

I absolutely hate this mentality of people who think one specialty is "better" than another, and in my observation it appears to be a more common phenomenom in new grads from the past 5-ish years or so.

I have worked a lot of different specialties including ICUs, med-surg, ER, and oncology and I don't think a specialty makes someone a better nurse than another. They're all different, they're all hard in their own way, they all require different types of critical thinking and time management. 

Often times one specialty might "struggle" if they tried to do another specialty - ICU nurse may have a hard time juggling 6 med-surg patients; med-surg nurse may have a hard time managing an Oncology assignment full of blood products and chemo; Oncology nurse may struggle understanding lab values of a non-onc patient....my point being that they all thrive in their own ways, and not one is better than the other.

Anyone can be a "real hardcore badass nurse" no matter their specialty. You are a new grad though, you aren't hardcore or badass no matter what specialty you're in because you are still learning. Improve your critical thinking skills, increase your understanding of underlying pathophysiology and disease processes, know your patient population like the back of your hand, and then decide that you are bored/aren't "good enough" and try to go somewhere else. Until then, there's a lot to learn.

Also, shout out to the SNF/LTC nurses out there managing 1543 patients at once (okay, slight exaggeration) providing excellent care and always advocating for their residents. They are the true badasses to me. 

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Calbrunette has 7 years experience.

56 Posts; 1,704 Profile Views

I can totally relate. I'm struggling with the same thing myself. However...I'm not sure I know the answer but I can tell you that the grass isn't always greener. There is nothing wrong with being happy where you work. There are always ways to know more, do more, achieve more. It depends what your priorities are. You mentioned you were a new grad...perhaps take some more time and see what areas of nursing really appeal to you and where your passion is. Then go in that direction. Don't pressure yourself to a change just for appearances sake. Nursing is hard and it will wear you out. You might not be there yet since you're new. If you have a job that has good pay and good people, that's rare! If your job isn't depleting you mentally, physically, and emotionally then don't mess with it, lol. This will allow you to have a quality of life outside of work. 

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myoglobin has 11 years experience as a ASN, BSN, MSN and specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro.

504 Posts; 3,728 Profile Views

The questions is "what will make you the most happy" and create the best work/life balance.  I remember a Harvard psychologist who did a lecture on happiness. He quoted a study that evaluated the happiness of two groups of people. Those who had just become paraplegics and those who had just won the lottery. As might be expected the group that won the lottery was initially happier with the news that they were wealthy than those who discovered that they had life altering illness or injury. However, at one year they were approximately equally happy. His point was that we often do a relatively poor job of successfully predicting accurately what will make us happy (or what will make us feel good about ourselves I suspect).  I remember working with a group of nurses from India when we first moved to Florida who were all in arranged marriages. I basically said "that must be weird" they retorted "did you realize that studies show that those in arranged marriages are happier and have a lower divorce rate than those who find their own mates". I tried to validate their statement, but was frankly too busy to find any good studies, but it still caused me contemplate the issue from a different perspective. 

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not.done.yet has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

5,530 Posts; 44,649 Profile Views

The answer to this doesn't lie outside of yourself.

For whatever reason, you are feeling a need to prove to someone other than you that what you do has merit, value and warrants status. It has very little to do with those entities and everything to do with a sense of competitiveness inside yourself. Why? Only you can answer that. You will find the answer comes much more easily if you narrow down your goals.

Rachel Hollis recommends a process she calls 10:10:1.

Write down where you want to be in ten years.

Write down ten goals you have achieved by the time you get there. Write them in present tense, as if they are true right now.

Pick one of those goals and get gritty about achieving it.

Doing this can help you define what success means to you. If all your successes look like you are on top of the heap, there is nothing wrong with that, but realize there will never, ever, ever be a point in life in which you will feel you have arrived. Ever. So somewhere along the way you are going to have to define your happiness.

Books to read:

The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor

No Ego by Cy Wakeman

Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis

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Ponymom2 has 1 years experience.

21 Posts; 312 Profile Views

Meh, your just new....

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L-ICURN has 6 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in ICU.

38 Posts; 762 Profile Views

22 hours ago, CaliRN2019 said:

I feel like the bar keeps moving and no matter what I do I can't keep up. I really like the floor I am on. They pay is good, the people are good. Sometimes the pt acuity seems too easy and I crave something harder...

Who's moving the bar? If you like the floor you're on, stay a while. On those shifts when the acuity of the patients seems easy, read a journal. Look at certification as a possibility. Join a committee. Engage in side work that supports your desire to learn. You have to figure out what truly makes you happy or content and then work toward that goal.

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myoglobin has 11 years experience as a ASN, BSN, MSN and specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro.

504 Posts; 3,728 Profile Views

How can patients be too easy?  I go to work for the money, not the fun or fulfillment.  If I want fun I will go down the street to Disney World. If I want a challenge I will hike the Appalachian trail (in segments since I don't have the time to do all at once) if I want to feel like I'm helping someone I will volunteer at Give Kids the World (the provide wishes for seriously ill children). I go to work to pay the rent, eat, and to be able to afford all the things in life that I actually want to do.

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Davey Do has 35 years experience and specializes in Psych, CD, HH, Admin, LTC, OR, ER, Med Surge.

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7 hours ago, myoglobin said:

  I remember a Harvard psychologist who did a lecture on happiness. 

Your whole post was great, myoglobin, but I wanted to ask you: Was the name of the psychologist Daniel Gilbert?

Daniel Gilbert wrote a great book titled Stumbling on Happiness and your examples sound like the same sort of studies Dr. Gilbert had in his book!

CaliRN: I share with you one of my favorite quotes: "My happiness does not depend on what others do or say or what goes on around me. My happiness is a result of being at peace with myself".

Peace to you!

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myoglobin has 11 years experience as a ASN, BSN, MSN and specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro.

504 Posts; 3,728 Profile Views

1 hour ago, Davey Do said:

Your whole post was great, myoglobin, but I wanted to ask you: Was the name of the psychologist Daniel Gilbert?

Daniel Gilbert wrote a great book titled Stumbling on Happiness and your examples sound like the same sort of studies Dr. Gilbert had in his book!

CaliRN: I share with you one of my favorite quotes: "My happiness does not depend on what others do or say or what goes on around me. My happiness is a result of being at peace with myself".

Peace to you!

Yes that was the Ted Talk (by Gilbert). The one I saw dated back to 2004 and the research he referenced was even older, but there is a more recent one from last year that I've been meaning to watch (it is an hour long), but simply haven't.

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no.intervention.required has 5 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in SCRN.

129 Posts; 4,378 Profile Views

This is how job hopping happens. You are a new grad, stay where you are. It will help you in the long run. 

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FolksBtrippin is a BSN, RN and specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Public Health.

1,538 Posts; 13,547 Profile Views

I think you're just feeling a lot of ambition.

Ambition is good when you let it make you smarter and better and bad when you look down on others instead of getting smarter and better. 

Stay on the good side by going to practice council meetings, taking classes, subscribing to journals, signing up for conferences, pushing yourself hard to learn and grow where you are. 

It doesn't necessarily ever end, but at some point you may get tired and want to just lay on a beach or read a novel. 

 

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